South America’s largest metropolis and Brazil’s economic epicentre, São Paulo is a bustling, booming city with surprising pockets of calm, as well as plenty of places to drink, dine and soak up the culture, writes Sasha Wood
Set between the sloping streets of São Paulo’s smart and leafy Jardins district, Tivoli Mofarrej São Paulo scores points for both location and luxury. Its top-floor breakfast room has panoramic views of the city’s skyline and the tropical pool is the perfect place to chill. All guest rooms have the latest tech and amenities including smart TVs, USB charging points and a decent workspace.
For a gourmet meal in a modern rustic setting, South American celebrity chef Alex Atala’s Dalva e Dito restaurant serves traditional Brazilian food prepared with ingredients sourced from the Amazon rainforest.
Lively Bar Brahma on the corner of Avenida Ipiranga and Sao Joao Street is the best place in São Paulo to sample local live samba and classic local fare. Alternatively, visit the Vila Madalena district for music, poetry and dancing at Bar Samba or Bar Camara.
There is an official Airport Bus service between Guarulhos International Airport and the city centre. It’s fairly cheap and frequent, but can take between one and three hours, owing to São Paulo’s notoriously bad traffic. Taxis are also readily available outside the airport terminal, or you can summon an Uber, which is considerably less costly.
Must see sights
The covered Mercado Municipal market in São Paulo’s downtown district is a feast for the senses. Pockets of heritage architecture such as Patio do Colegio, where the city was founded, and the 16th-century Church of Santa Ifigenia still shelter between modern skyscrapers in central São Paulo. Ibirapuera Park, based on the design of NYC's Central Park, offers a huge expanse of green space and a break from the hustle and bustle.
LATAM and British Airways both operate direct flights between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport, while Virgin Atlantic will launch services in March 2020. Flights take around 11hrs 45mins.
(Published September 2019)